Trump Forced to Consider Releasing Democrat Counter Memo

The House Intelligence Committee that issued a controversial memo drafted by Republicans last week voted unanimously to release a rebuttal by Democrats on Monday.

The 10-page Democrat-written document will now go to the White House for President Donald Trump to examine and potentially declassify. Trump has five days to make a decision. He declassified the four-page Republican memo last Friday.

After the GOP memo’s release, the president argued on Twitter that it showed “the top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans.”

02_06_Schiff Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee, arrives to watch President Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 30. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Trump was referring to ongoing probes in Congress and by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether his campaign aided Russia’s alleged efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. A counterintelligence investigation into the matter was launched by the FBI in July 2016.

The Republican memo was drafted by the office of the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Representative Devin Nunes, and other GOP members of Congress. The FBI said last Wednesday that it has “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The memo written by Democrats is said to pick apart the narrative of the Republican document. Republicans argued that FBI and Justice Department officials did not alert a U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that some evidence they used to get a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page came from a dossier compiled for a political research firm with funding from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  

The GOP memo’s chief advocate Nunes, however, said during an appearance on Fox & Friends on Monday that the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance warrant on Page—who was suspected of working with Russian intelligence agents—made clear in a “footnote” that some of the supporting evidence came from a political source.

Read more: Republicans say Trump isn't vindicated by memo in Russia investigation, adding to Democrat chorus

“A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign,” Nunes argued.

On Saturday, Trump wrote that the memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe” and argued the Russia investigations are a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Some Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said over the weekend their memo stops short of vindicating the president and urged the Mueller investigation and others to continue.

Other Republicans have argued the memo provides evidence current and former law enforcement officials should be prosecuted for illegal spying.

The president now has the opportunity to vet what information the Democrat memo contains and decide if the document should be published at all.

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Representative Adam Schiff, said Monday he will track what information the White House withholds in an attempt to determine if the document is being manipulated for political purposes.

On Monday, Trump called Schiff “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington” and said he “must be stopped.”

Nunes is reportedly preparing several more memos looking at “wrongdoing” in the Justice Department and State Department to support claims officials plotted against Trump.